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View Full Version : Borescope -- To Buy or Not?



Hunter
01-27-2015, 07:51 AM
I've been thinking of buying a borescope for two reasons: first, to evaluate my cleaning process; second, to evaluate the progression of erosion. However, based on what I read there seems to be a split on their usefulness of; some folks think they're great and some seem to think the information obtained is not very meaningful. It seems that the negatives involve the issues of: (1) a barrel doesn't have to be sparkling clean to shoot well; and (2) as long as a barrel shoots well the amount of erosion is not important.

As for seeing how clean the barrel is, I've shot some of my better groups with a barrel that had not been cleaned for three or four matches (five record shots per match). Also, having recently looked at my barrels with a friend's borescope, my barrels may not have been "really clean" since they were new -- thus, maybe even those good groups I shot right after cleaning may have been from a "dirty" barrel.

As for evaluating erosion, I'm not sure how to evaluate information that shows "cracking" in the barrel, i.e., at what point do you decided that the cracking is 'too much" (based on borescope information) and that it's time to replace the barrel?

So, the question: Is it worth buying a borescope? Your thoughts?

Joe Salt
01-27-2015, 09:03 AM
Hunter If you have the extra money go for it! I know I use mine all the time for the purpose of cleaning. I keep the carbon ring from getting bad, and I think I can do a better job of cleaning. The other thing you mentioned about so many firing before cleaning, that is where you have to determine how many shots your rifle likes before you clean. I shoot with guys that don't clean the whole season and do very well. Do I NO but I have gone 40 rounds or so in one or two of my rifles that it didn't matter. As far as fire cracking I can't tell you if there hurting you or not. I had one that down right looked scary but it shot great. When they start throwing shots it time to rechamber or new barrel. My 2 cents

Joe Salt

kolar55
01-27-2015, 09:41 AM
FWIW About a year ago I bought one of the cheaper bore scopes. (around $300). Mainly to check out my cleaning regimen. It works ok for my purpose. Right after Christmas I bought a brand new Model 70 Super grade in cal 7-08. Got it home and cleaned the bore. I didn't like the feel of the bore when running a patch through it so I ran the scope in there and was shocked at what I saw. On the following Monday morning I called Winchester and they are in the process of replacing the rifle now. I never would have known what that bore looked like without the scope. Lonnie Boelk

Bill Gammon
01-27-2015, 10:10 AM
I got a Hawkeye bore scope and put in the LED light. I would not be without one. Your money, your choice.

Hunter
01-27-2015, 10:15 AM
When they start throwing shots it time to rechamber or new barrel.

My real problem is that I can't determine the cause of "thrown" shots -- the barrel, the brass, the bullet, wrong load, poor gun handling, or poor wind reading. On another thread, someone mentioned "fix[ing] the cheapest thing first [and] that would be me"; regrettably, it might be a while before I fix myself.

PS Mr. Gammon, can you tell that the scope improves your shooting?

Lee Martin
01-27-2015, 10:16 AM
Never thought I needed one until I bought a Hawkeye. They're not cheap, but it has given me two things: 1) A visual as to why a barrel is starting to, or has gone away, and 2) An assessment of whether my cleaning technique is getting the bore to the desired condition.

My recommendation? Buy one and never look back.

-Lee
www.singleactions.com

Boyd Allen
01-27-2015, 10:16 AM
If you prefer guessing to knowing, you don't need one. Seriously, I think that you will enjoy having a bore scope.

L. E. Hanson
01-27-2015, 12:12 PM
I suspect that most guys who buy them (Hawkeye) are happy that they did. You rarely see used ones for sale.

When I first got mine I spent a lot of time examining every barrel I had. That was a good educational experience. Now that I know for a fact how to properly clean a barrel, I spend less time using the borescope on my guns. I know that my cleaning technique is effective and rarely inspect the entire bore, mainly just checking the throat area and first couple inches of the bore after cleaning looking for carbon build up and erosion.

If you get one you will soon become a valuable resource for your friends. I probably spend as much time inspecting barrels for my shooting buddies as I do my own. My brother collects old Winchesters and the borescope spends a lot of time with him as well. I canít say that it has improved my shooting to any noticeable degree but it has paid off in more ways than I had imagined it would. And if I ever decide to sell it Iím pretty sure I could get my money back.

jackie schmidt
01-27-2015, 03:23 PM
I have a bore scope. It hasn't been out of the case in 10 years. Maybe more.

I was all excited when I first got it. Then I couldn't figure out why I needed it in the first place.

They do make for good conversation.

xs hedspace
01-27-2015, 03:52 PM
My borescope showed me that the horror stories about firelapping were BS, at least the ones using lead bullets. I bought a Baikal 22/20 ga, which had a nasty land smear at the throat, from a dull reamer, most likely. I fired in all 50 rounds coated in 220 grit through that barrel, looking every 10 rounds, and all it did was polish the smear, and shine up the edges and tops of the lands. I rechambered it to .22 Wmag, shoots very nice. Took photos, but the photos are somewheres in my old computers hard drive. Did a Home Depot LED upgrade to the mini Maglite in the Hawkeye kit-$16 and three times as bright!

jackie schmidt
01-27-2015, 06:06 PM
Here is my favorite bore scope story.

Back in the mid 2000's, there was a NBRSA Nationals at Midland. Tuesday night, after the Unlimited 200, a bunch of us were talking about this very subject, Borescopes and Barrels.

A notable shooter just happen to have his, and we started looking at our barrels. I said my Sporter was ready to go for in the next morning's 100, so he scoped my barrel, and to be kind, he said it was "dead on arrival". I needed to JB it, lap it, do something to get all of that "stuff" out of there. Or maybe just change barrels.

I just said, "naw, I"ll go with this"

Well, the next morning, that filthy old barrel laid down a .168 agg and won the yardage.

I guess if I would have scrubbed on it all night, it would have done even better. Never know.

Hunter
01-27-2015, 06:24 PM
[H]e scoped my barrel, and to be kind, he said it was "dead on arrival". I needed to JB it, lap it, do something to get all of that "stuff" out of there. Or maybe just change barrels.

I just said, "naw, I"ll go with this"

Well, the next morning, that filthy old barrel laid down a .168 agg and won the yardage.

I guess if I would have scrubbed on it all night, it would have done even better.

That story reminds me of my dilemma -- what to do with borescope information. BTW, what criteria do you use for replacing a barrel? If it's primarily based on "throwing" shots, as mentioned above, I can't determine the cause of such shots -- and the idea of buying barrels more often than necessary causes me some concern.

Tim Singleton
01-27-2015, 07:32 PM
I suspect that most guys who buy them (Hawkeye) are happy that they did. You rarely see used ones for sale.

When I first got mine I spent a lot of time examining every barrel I had. That was a good educational experience. Now that I know for a fact how to properly clean a barrel, I spend less time using the borescope on my guns. I know that my cleaning technique is effective and rarely inspect the entire bore, mainly just checking the throat area and first couple inches of the bore after cleaning looking for carbon build up and erosion.

If you get one you will soon become a valuable resource for your friends. I probably spend as much time inspecting barrels for my shooting buddies as I do my own. My brother collects old Winchesters and the borescope spends a lot of time with him as well. I canít say that it has improved my shooting to any noticeable degree but it has paid off in more ways than I had imagined it would. And if I ever decide to sell it Iím pretty sure I could get my money back.
This pretty much sums up my experience. Now that I KNOW what it takes to get the barrels clean I don't use it as much. You rarely see them used. I waited and watched about 3 months and caught a used one. I'm sure if you decided it wasn't something you use enough if you buy a used one you can get your money back easily.

Dusty Stevens
01-27-2015, 08:52 PM
Im with jackie. I can always say yea i got one. Itll either scare you or reassure you that you have no idea what youre looking at. I can assure you 100% that you cant look into a barrel and see how its gonna shoot. I look at chambers when im done cutting them and thats rare. Past that its a conversation piece

ebb
01-27-2015, 09:14 PM
Kolar 55 Is your borescope one of the Larry Willis units? If not what is it and where did you get it? Do you have any advise,I assume it is one of the new style fiber optic cable scopes.

kolar55
01-28-2015, 01:26 AM
Kolar 55 Is your borescope one of the Larry Willis units? If not what is it and where did you get it? Do you have any advise,I assume it is one of the new style fiber optic cable scopes.
Yes it is the one from Larry Willis.

abintx
01-28-2015, 05:34 PM
I got tired of wondering what the interior of my barrels looked like. Now I know! They're useful for more than just looking inside a rifle's barrel. Glad I bought it, wish I had done it sooner. I purchased an inexpensive one initially but it didn't give me the clarity that I wanted so I sent it back. The Hawkeye meets all my needs. :)

Hunter
01-29-2015, 08:35 AM
They're useful for more than just looking inside a rifle's barrel.

I'm drawing blanks; help me out. :confused:

michaelnel
01-29-2015, 10:02 AM
I'm drawing blanks; help me out. :confused:

You can get together with your friends and have colonoscopy parties!

sbindy
01-31-2015, 12:35 PM
If you can wait until May, this is an option..

http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/GunCleaning/borescope.php

Tim Singleton
02-04-2015, 02:55 PM
There was one on accurateshooter this morning. It lasted just over an hour I think

Wilbur
02-05-2015, 10:24 PM
I'm really sorry to not have an opinion but I just never bought one. Clay Spencer really knows what he's looking at when using a bore scope...but he's Clay Spencer and I'm just Wilbur. Wilbur probably would be wasting money but hey, I'm pretty good at that!

Buy one and get back to us with what you learned with it. Do you shoot better by owning a bore scope or not? That's the question. I suppose that "better" would need a definition as well but better only means one thing to me as far as shooting goes.

xs hedspace
02-07-2015, 11:46 AM
A friend of mine has a 6mm Rem factory varmint that shoots sub 1/2 moa groups, and the barrel looks like a blacktop road for about 4-5" up the throat. Go figure. The only thing I can see is the action is warped so that the bolt cams into a tight seat when closed, judging by the wear marks on the bolt, and putting a straightedge along the action side. Bought it used, owner said he didn't shoot it much----yeah, right.